Copyright 2012 by June Burns
It was Christmas Eve in the Smith household, with candles winking out of every window and giddy anticipation the coming morning hanging in the air. The tinsel and colorful lights climbed up a pine tree standing in the corner of the living room, four stockings hung from the mantelpiece, and the delectable smell of honeyed ham and apple pie wafted from the dining room—it was a happy and peaceful place that night, but of course Aurora knew that the best was to come the following morning. She tried her best to be patient.
“Let us say grace,” Dad announced grandly as the humble family of four gathered around the table bearing the tempting feast. Aurora rose and grasped her parents’ hands, bowing her head in prayer.
“We thank the Lord for the many gifts he has given us this year—good health, a living, safe and secure shelter, and a beautiful family—and now we thank him for His most precious gift, His only Son, Jesus Christ. We celebrate the Eve of his coming this day with food and drink, and of course, Christmas carols.” He smiled. “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.”
“Amen,” Aurora repeated. She stared at the meal before her, and her stomach growled.
“All right, all right, let’s dig in,” Dad allowed, and the family sat.
The table was covered with ceramic red and green bowls filled to the brim with potatoes, brown sugar-covered yams, green beans, and homemade cranberry sauce. Beside the candle and holly centerpiece sat the delicately browned ham on a gold-rimmed platter. Aurora leaned over the table and reached for the first slice hungrily as it fell from the carving knife, snatching it up with her fingers and setting it on her plate.